Compendium of 530 metagenome-assembled bacterial and archaeal genomes from the polar Arctic Ocean

Marta Royo-Llonch, Pablo Sanchez, Clara Ruiz-Gonzalez, Guillem Salazar, Carlos Pedros-Alio, Marta Sebastian, Karine Labadie, Lucas Paoli, Federico M. Ibarbalz, Lucie Zinger, Benjamin Churcheward, Samuel Chaffron, Damien Eveillard, Eric Karsenti, Shinichi Sunagawa, Patrick Wincker, Lee Karp-Boss, Chris Bowler, Silvia G. Acinas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The role of the Arctic Ocean ecosystem in climate regulation may depend on the responses of marine microorganisms to environmental change. We applied genome-resolved metagenomics to 41 Arctic seawater samples, collected at various depths in different seasons during the Tara Oceans Polar Circle expedition, to evaluate the ecology, metabolic potential and activity of resident bacteria and archaea. We assembled 530 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) to form the Arctic MAGs catalogue comprising 526 species. A total of 441 MAGs belonged to species that have not previously been reported and 299 genomes showed an exclusively polar distribution. Most Arctic MAGs have large genomes and the potential for fast generation times, both of which may enable adaptation to a copiotrophic lifestyle in nutrient-rich waters. We identified 38 habitat generalists and 111 specialists in the Arctic Ocean. We also found a general prevalence of 14 mixotrophs, while chemolithoautotrophs were mostly present in the mesopelagic layer during spring and autumn. We revealed 62 MAGs classified as key Arctic species, found only in the Arctic Ocean, showing the highest gene expression values and predicted to have habitat-specific traits. The Artic MAGs catalogue will inform our understanding of polar microorganisms that drive global biogeochemical cycles.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1561-+
Number of pages1560
JournalNature Microbiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 15 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-05-26
Acknowledgements: Tara Oceans (which includes both the Tara Oceans and Tara Oceans Polar Circle expeditions) would not exist without the leadership of the Tara Ocean Foundation and the continuous support of 23 institutes ( We thank SHOOK Studio for assistance with designing the figures. This work acknowledges the ‘Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence’ accreditation (CEX2019-000928-S). We thank the commitment of the following sponsors and research funding agencies: the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (project MAGGY, grant no. CTM2017-87736-R and Polar EcoGen PID2020-116489RB-I00), Horizon 2020-Research and Innovation Framework Programme (Atlantic ECOsystems assessment, forecasting & sustainability, grant no. H2020-BG-2019-2), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (in particular Groupement de Recherche GDR3280 and the Research Federation for the study of Global Ocean Systems Ecology and Evolution, FR2022/Tara Oceans-GOSEE), European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Genoscope/Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives, the French Ministry of Research and the French Government’s ‘Investissements d’Avenir’ programmes OCEANOMICS (project no. ANR-11-BTBR-0008), FRANCE GENOMIQUE (project no. ANR-10-INBS-09-08), MEMO LIFE (project no. ANR-10-LABX-54), Paris Sciences et Lettres University (project no. ANR-11-IDEX-0001-02), Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich and Helmut Horten Foundation, the Swiss National Foundation (project no. 205321_184955), MEXT/JSPS/KAKENHI (project nos. 16H06429, 16K21723, 16H06437 and 18H02279). We also thank the support and commitment of agnès b. and E. Bourgois, the Prince Albert II de Monaco Foundation, the Veolia Foundation, Region Bretagne, Lorient Agglomération, Serge Ferrari, World Courier and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. The global sampling effort was enabled by countless scientists and crews who sampled aboard the Tara from 2009 to 2013. We thank Mercator/Coriolis and ACRI-ST for providing daily satellite data during the expedition. We also thank the countries who graciously granted sampling permissions. All data reported herein are fully and freely available from the date of publication, with no restrictions; all of the analyses, publications and ownership of data are free from legal entanglement or restriction by the various nations whose waters the Tara Oceans expeditions sampled in. This article is contribution number 122 of Tara Oceans.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


Dive into the research topics of 'Compendium of 530 metagenome-assembled bacterial and archaeal genomes from the polar Arctic Ocean'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this